For sale, an Edwardian wimshurst machine in full working order.
The Wimshurst influence machine or electrostatic generator was developed by the British inventor James Wimshurst between 1880 & 1883.
The machine has a cast iron base with two contra rotating ebonite discs with 24 metal sectors attached to the front. By turning the handle electrostatic charge is sent to the two glass leyden jars which sit either side of the base on brass plates. Once enough charge has been stored within the jars a spark is released between the two brass nodes to the front of the machine.
Although this machine has no markings, similar machines were being marketed by the German Heinrich Bernhard Felix Wommelsdorf under the product name of “Womella” and also by an American company called the Electro Importing Company both active in the early 1900’s. Please see the images for an example of the Electro Importing Company’s adverts during the period.
James Wimshurst was the Chief Shipwright Surveyor for Lloyds of London but dedicated his spare time to scientific experimentation. Widely known for his experiments with electricity, he became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1889 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1898.